Q. A ball was at rest in shallow, rapidly-running water in a water hazard. After the player had carefully entered the water, walked to the ball and addressed it, the ball moved, presumably due to the current. What is the ruling?
A. There is no penalty. The player may play the ball from its new position or, under penalty of one stroke, take relief under Rule 26-1. Rule 14-6 overrides Rule 18-2b (Ball Moving After Address) in such a case.
When a ball is in water and it is not clear whether the player’s actions caused the ball to move, he should be given the benefit of the doubt and no penalty should be applied. However, if the player’s actions clearly caused the ball to move, he would be subject to a penalty stroke under Rule 18-2a and required to replace the ball. For example, if a player were to jump into the water close to the ball and in so doing create a splash that moved the ball, he would be subject to penalty under Rule 18-2a.